One of the charms of Cottonwood Valley Charter School is its open campus.

But that has also been a challenge for Socorro Consolidated Schools officials when it comes to security.

But I don’t think anyone could fathom someone stealing five picnic tables from the campus.

Seriously, who does that?

“We are looking into security cameras now,” Cottonwood Principal Kim Schaffer told me in an email this week.

I’ve seen a Facebook post that suggested putting a brand on the tables and somehow chaining them to the ground.

It’s really sad that it would come to that.

On a positive note, no one has taken any tables in the past couple of weeks.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of the missing tables, contact the Socorro Police Department.

I’m sure the folks at Cottonwood Valley Charter School would appreciate it.

• And now for a little good news: Local participation was up for both the Chile Harvest Youth Triathlon and the Socorro Chile Harvest Triathlon.

Beth Cadol, race director for the 10th Annual Chile Harvest Youth Triathlon, told the Socorro City Council there were 68 participants ages 7 through 14. Cadol said Riders and Striders received a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation to help increase local participation in the event.

She said local participation was up 65 percent from 2017.

There were 65 volunteers supporting the 68 triathletes, which helped make the race secure for participants.

Stacy Timmons, race director for the 23rd Annual Chile Harvest Triathlon, told the Council there were 224 participants in the event. There was also an increase of local athletes from the previous year. Participants came from as far away as Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Texas.

Timmons said there were 100 volunteers helping out. Mayor Ravi Bhasker praised organizers. The event helps bring in needed money to the economy.

The City of Socorro is one of the sponsors of the event. Several businesses served as sponsors as well, including El Defensor Chieftain.

• Athletics was also a main topic of discussion at the Socorro Consolidated Schools Board meeting in August.

A couple of parents made the pitch for the return of eighth grade athletics. They voiced concerns about the physical challenges eighth graders face when competing against athletes at the high school level, which is the case for Socorro students this season.

There was even a spirited discussion about whether or not younger volleyball players were getting enough playing time on the high school’s C-team, which can compete against schools with eighth grade teams.

I’m guessing the issue is related to the effort school officials have made to reduce the athletic department deficit. Finance Director Rhiannon Crespin told the School Board the deficit from the 2017-18 school year was about $28,000 when team accounts were included.

The district has stepped up its efforts in fundraising this year.

Of course one group is finding out raising funds for teams can have its hurdles. There was a discussion with the football booster club on what the club needed to do to be Title IX compliant.

The club can raise a certain amount for the football team. But if it raises funds above that level, it must use funds for an equitable need for a girls’ team in addition to the football squad.

• A letter to the editor a few weeks ago struck a nerve for several people in the community. Several people commented on Zeljka Fuchs’ letter concerning the hoodie ban at Socorro High School. School officials talked about the pushback during the first school board meeting of the school year.

Socorro High School Principal Mario Zuniga said at the time that the ban was lifted on the condition students tucked their hoods in their shirt collars.